The Wheat & the Weed (Matt.13:24-43)

Itarsi, 30 August, 2008.

TEXT: Matthew.13:24-43
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field;
"but while men slept, his enemy came and sowed tares among the wheat and went his way.
"But when the grain had sprouted and produced a crop, then the tares also appeared.
"So the servants of the owner came and said to him, 'Sir, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have tares?'
"He said to them, 'An enemy has done this.' The servants said to him, 'Do you want us then to go and gather them up?'
"But he said, 'No, lest while you gather up the tares you also uproot the wheat with them.
'Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the time of harvest I will say to the reapers, "First gather together the tares and bind them in bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my barn." ' "
Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field,
"which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches."
Another parable He spoke to them: "The kingdom of heaven is like leaven, which a woman took and hid in three measures of meal till it was all leavened."
All these things Jesus spoke to the multitude in parables; and without a parable He did not speak to them,
that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying: "I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things kept secret from the foundation of the world."
Then Jesus sent the multitude away and went into the house. And His disciples came to Him, saying, "Explain to us the parable of the tares of the field."
He answered and said to them: "He who sows the good seed is the Son of Man.
"The field is the world, the good seeds are the sons of the kingdom, but the tares are the sons of the wicked [one.]
"The enemy who sowed them is the devil, the harvest is the end of the age, and the reapers are the angels.
"Therefore as the tares are gathered and burned in the fire, so it will be at the end of this age.
"The Son of Man will send out His angels, and they will gather out of His kingdom all things that offend, and those who practice lawlessness,
"and will cast them into the furnace of fire. There will be wailing and gnashing of teeth.
"Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!

Parables are windows to truth.

1. The World Belongs to God

The field is of God. The devil is just an infiltrator. The world is God's field.

False Notions
False View # 1. The World Belongs to Man - Anthropocentric View.
Psalm 115:16 means that the heavens are solely governed by God, but the earth is given to man. Yet, the earth is not given over to man as an independent sovereign domain. Daniel 4:25 tells us that the Sovereign God rules in the kingdom of men and gives it to whomsoever He wills. If the earth were a separated domain, then God would have no authority over it. He could not legally interfere with its affairs. He could not judge or condemn anyone since it would be the matter of a separate kingdom and unrelated to Him. Sin, then would be an internal problem of man - something that man would have to settle. It would not be sin against God. The only law that would be recognized in the kingdom of man would be the law of man. But the fact that sin is a violation of God's law is itself proof that the the world is under the domain of God. This is God's world.

The false view that the world is man's world leads to irresponsible usage of the earth's resources, exploitation of nature, and an independent spirit that doesn't honor God.

Even the very life of man belongs to God. Man is not an independent creature. There is difference between freedom and independence. Freedom means that one is free to choose any action. Independence means that one needs to give an account to nobody since he is under no one's rule. He is sovereign, self-governing, and self-dependent. (e.g. India is free and independent; it is a sovereign nation not under a foreign rule).

Man is not independent and his freedom involves responsibility.

2. False View # 2. The World Belongs to the Devil - The Evil-Centered View.
It's extremity is docetism that looks at all matter as inherently evil
(Lk.4:6; 1Jn.5:19; 2Cor.4:4; Eph.2:2).

It is falsely believed by some that the kingdom was handed over to the devil's hands by Adam. This is false since Adam had no right of transfer. He never had the absolute authority to transfer ownership of the world because the world never belonged to him as an inheritance. Man is not sovereign. Only God is sovereign.

The devil spoke a lie by appeal to appearance.

Things appear as if the devil is in control everywhere, but just because he has sown weeds in God's field by stealth doesn't mean this field now belongs to him. The word "world" has several meanings: "universe", "earth", "terrestrial", "humanity in general" (John 3:16), "sinful humanity" (2Cor.4; 1Jn.5). Sinful humanity with its worldly wisdom is in the condemnation of the devil, believing his lies, and walking after the doctrines of demons. The devil and his angels will be judged for their rebellion.

False View #3. The World Belongs to Life - Eco-centric View.Man is part of the eco-system of balance and must live in conformity with the laws of nature so that the earth will always be conducive to life. We are in danger of losing the earth as the only habitat of life by deforestation, depletion of ozone layer, rise of seal level, global warming, etc. Since man is the only rational being, it is his responsibility to conserve nature. Nature becomes a goal in the sense that life is the purpose of this world. Some modern scientists have gone to the extent of saying that "Mother Earth", nature is alive (GAIA Hypothesis). There are other versions such as Tao and Yoga (attunement with nature).

The Biblical View: Christocentric View
Colossians 1:19ff, Psalm 89:11.

The world belongs to God.
Dan.4:25: God rules over the kingdom of men.

Why does God rule? Because it belongs to Him. It is sinful man who questions the authority of God.

Do you acknowledge the Sovereignty & Lordship of God over your life?

The Son of man is the Sower of the Good Seed.

2. The Wheat are the Children of the Kingdom

This means that they are the original heirs of the Kingdom. The ones who really belong to God and to His Kingdom. They are children of God.

2Tim.2:9: The Lord knows those that are His.

They are originally intended to live and grow in the world. But the enemy comes and pollutes it with evil seed, poisonous weeds.

Few Things to Note
Don't over allegorize the parable.
Proceed from facts to parable; not from parable to facts.

e.g. The wheat in sower's hand must not be interpreted as saying that man has no choice, etc.
--Unlike wheat grain, humans have freewill, personality, moral choice...
--It is by choice that one aligns himself with the will of God.
--The wheat is the original intention of the sower. The child of God is the original intention of God.
--The wheat is that which is ultimately useful. All the act of the weed is only hurtful and useless at the end to be burnt in fire.
-- Understand your purpose -- your destiny.
--Your identity is determined by your choice.

It is not that God created the good ones and the devil created the evil ones - as some people think about Cain that he was born out of Eve & Satan's relationship. The devil can create nothing.

God created men alike but all those who respond by faith in His word are the wheat of God. The rest are devil's seed.

Your character is determined by your choices.

False Views About Man As Wheat

1. Essentialist View. That men are essentially good or evil. Some Indian schools of philosophy talked about Sattva, Rajas, and Tamas. That some are born as rational, some as passionate, and some as lazy. Calvin emphasized or pre-election and quoted "Vessels of honor" versus Vessels of dishonor.

When the Bible says that the wicked are by nature the children of wrath, it doesn't mean that they have such nature but that the natural consequences are punishment.

People are not born as wheat or weed; they become wheat or weed by choice.

2. Situationist View. Man is a slave of circumstances and man becomes what circumstances make of him. This may have some truth but not ultimately true.

Determinism is assumed much in psychology. Man is regarded as a bunch of chemical reations, genetically determined and evolving in response to his environment.

If man was determined and had no free choice, then sin cannot exist as willful rebellion. It would only exit as mechanical response and would not be rebellious but malfunction.You don't judge mechanics in law courts, and you don't put computer in prison.

It's one's moral choice that determines one's character. Your willingness or unwillingness to believe God makes you what you become.

God can't hold you responsible if you can blame it all on someone else. The blame finally ends in you. You are the sole decider of your fate. It is your determination of what is meaningful to you that determines the meaning of your life.

Are you a Wheat or a Weed?

The Weed are the Children of the Wicked One

They are the trouble-makers, the fast-growers, the seemingly successful. dominant, notorious, and false occupiers of God's world.

They are the weed. They belong to the devil and his wicked rebellious group. Cain joined hands with the devil against God.

Something to note about weeds
1. Simulator: Weed looks like wheat. Look is alike. The devil is a good simulator.
2. Persecutors: Poisonous Weed. They are scoffers, mockers, violent.
3. Occupies: Not encroachment, but application. Psalm 73.
4. Day of Judgement: Final decision - It is God's barn.
Sovereignty, Ownership, and Choice of destiny.